Architect: TAO (Trace Architecture Office) – HUA Li
Location: China, Sichuan Province, Xiaoquan town
Total Floor Area: 8,900 sqm
Construction cost: RMB 14 Million
Design team: HUA Li, Zhu Zhiyuan, Jiang Nan, Li Guofa, Kong Desheng
Photograph: Yao Li
The old XiaoQuan Elementary School was severely damaged during the catastrophic 5.12 Sichuan earthquake in 2008 and was demolished afterwards. Supported by donations from several sponsors, the project is to build new school in the center of Xiaoquan old town. The program consists of main classroom buildings, classrooms for various activities, teacher’s office, student dormitory buildings, and dining hall. The new school will host more than 900 students.
The design is conceived as a cluster of small buildings to create a micro-city like campus. The fragmentary instead of unified building composition creates many urban like place such us streets, plazas, courtyards, and steps at various scales. These places are intended to encourage diversified and spontaneous activities of children. Small-scale playful corners and labyrinth like space as passage and playground are created to provoke children’s curiosity and imagination. Through this, we also intend to continue the urban space memory of Xiaoquan town in the school building, so as to avoid completely losing the continuity of urban fabric during rebuilding process after earthquake.
The design responds to Sichuan’s hot and humid climate. Sunshade device, natural ventilation and heat reduction are important elements considered in design. We also explore to maximize the use of local resource and craftsmanship which can be acquired. Local materials such as wood, brick and bamboo are used for windows, walls, and ceilings. The recycled bricks from earthquake are used in pavement. Cast-in-situ concrete are used for exposed structure. The construction is completely done by a local contractor. The construction cost is well controlled within the economical budget of RMB 1,500 yuan per square meter.